Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Designing a better mouse-trap

The Chief Executive Officer of Dyson was being interviewed on the radio as I drove to work this morning. As the weather gets warmer, thoughts turn to cooling and Dyson have invented a new desk fan. It looks cool as well as keeping you cool, and is on sale in my local Comet at about £200. That’s a lot to pay for a desk fan. It does, however, look good and work well. Like their vacuum cleaners and hand dryers.

Before you think this is a blogomercial for Dyson, it struck me how brave it was to design a better fan. Or a better vacuum cleaner come to that. Fans worked perfectly well before Dyson came along, as did vacuum cleaners. In both instances they have only made marginal improvements to the original. But those improvements, plus eye-catching design, have been enough to capture a significant market share in their field. It’s impressive, bold and extremely difficult to do.

I have a friend who has developed a better way of fastening a bra. Another problem that you might be forgiven for thinking doesn’t need solving – but bra fastenings have pretty much stayed the same for an awfully long time.

People who dare to do things better, more stylishly and more efficiently are not given an easy ride. But thank heavens they are a determined lot. Without them life would be more difficult or less interesting in all sorts of ways.

So here's to the inventers across the land who are making our lives better, whilst making their own lives more difficult.

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